Aggies Take on Nationally Ranked Gonzaga on ESPNU, Saturday Night
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  12/06/2013

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team (7-3) heads to Spokane, Wash. to face No. 15/19 Gonzaga (7-1) in the McCarthey Athletic Center, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. (MT) with coverage on ESPNU and on the radio in Las Cruces on KGRT 103.9 FM.  Live stats are available online at www.NMStateSports.com under the live events link and in-game updates will be given on Twitter @NMStateAggies.

Up Next

The Aggies continue their four-game road swing as they head to Tucson, Ariz. to take on another nationally ranked team in Arizona.  The Wildcats are currently No. 2 in the national polls but could jump into the No. 1 spot in the polls after Michigan State, who is currently No. 1, fell to North Carolina on Wednesday night.  The game against U of A will air on the Aggie Sports Network with ‘Voice of the Aggies,’ Jack Nixon giving the play-by-play action with coverage in Las Cruces on KGRT 103.9 FM.  The game will have television coverage on the PAC-12 Networks.

Tickets for Following

The 4,000th Twitter follower (@NMStateAggies) will win two courtside tickets to the next home game.  As of Thursday, Dec. 5, there were 3,998 followers.  The next home game is Saturday, Dec. 21 against Northern New Mexico at 7p.m. (MT).

About the Aggies

The Aggies are now 7-3 on the year after falling to in-state rival New Mexico on Wednesday night in the Pan American Center.  NM State lost its season opener to Western Michigan during the Outrigger Hotels and Resort Rainbow Warrior Classic in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The Aggies then went on to win seven straight before falling to Colorado State in Fort Collins, on a last second shot.

NM State is shooting 48 percent as a team and is winning games by an average of 8.5 points.  The Aggies have tallied 386 rebounds on the year averaging 38.6 per game with sophomore center Sim Bhullar leading the way with 7.4 boards per game.  Bhullar has also posted 33 blocks this season as the Aggies have tallied to 60 blocks as a team compared to their opponents marking only 30.

Junior guard Daniel Mullings leads the way with 17.7 points per game while junior guard DK Eldridge is averaging 12.1 points per game. Eldridge also has the most 3-pointers made with 16 and is shooting 52 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

Junior KC Ross-Miller has dished 37 assists on the year, while Mullings has added 34 this season. 

Scouting the Bulldogs

Gonzaga, who is ranked 19th in the AP Poll and tied for 15th in the USA Today Coaches Poll with a 7-1 overall record, is outscoring their opponents by more than 20 points per game.  The Bulldogs are posting 91.8 points per game with Kevin Pangos leading the charge with 20.4 points per game.

Sam Dower is grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game to lead his team while Przemek Karnowski isn’t too far behind with 7.4 boards per game. 

David Stockton is handling the offense for the Bulldogs and is marking 5.1 assists per game while he is adding 5.8 points per game.

Pangos was named West Coast Conference men’s basketball Player of the Week for the second straight week. In four games last week he averaged 22.0 points per game to go along with 2.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.  He also shot 54 percent from the field hitting 26-of-48 shots.

Aggies versus Ranked Opponents

Saint Louis was the last ranked opponent the Aggies faced as they fell to the Billikens 64-44 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season.  The last time NM State defeated a ranked team was on Jan. 20, 2007 in Las Cruces when the Aggies defeated No. 13/15 Nevada 80-73 in front of 12,482 fans.  Former Aggie Justin Hawkins led NM State that day with 29 points and 11 rebounds.

During the 1998-99 season, NM State faced four ranked opponents including Arkansas (No. 19), Washington (No. 25), New Mexico two times (No. 15 & No. 12) and Kentucky (No. 8).  The Aggies defeated the Lobos that season on Jan. 19, 1999 when they were ranked No. 12.

According to the NM State media guide the Aggies are 2-16 against nationally ranked opponents.

Aggies versus Gonzaga

This will be the first meeting between NM State and the Bulldogs.

Aggies in the Nation

As of Dec. 1, NM State is No. 1 in the nation in free throws attempted (310) and free throws made (212).  Daniel Mullings ranks No. 25 nationally in total points (161) and Sim Bhullar ranks No. 4 in the nation in total blocks (30) and No. 21 in blocked shots per game (3.33). Mullings also ranks 18th for total field goals made (56).

Last Time Out (Recap versus New Mexico)

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team lost its first home game of the season, and first in 16 contests at home, after falling to New Mexico, 79-70, Wednesday, Dec. 4, inside a packed Pan American Center. The Aggies are now 7-3 on the season while the Lobos improve to 6-1.

NM State had not lost a home matchup in almost a year.  UNM also handed the Aggies’ their only home loss during last season’s schedule.

The Lobos held a 10-point advantage at the half and NM State just could not cut into that lead during the second half of play.  Every time the Aggies made a run, UNM answered right back.

NM State finished the game shooting 38.7 percent (24-62) from the field to the Lobos’ 43.1 (22-51).  But it was shots from beyond the three-point arc that separated the two teams.  The Aggies only sank 21.1 percent of their threes (4-19) while UNM made half of its threes (6-12).  14 turnovers also did not help the NM State cause.

One bright spot for the Aggies was their free-throw shooting.  NM State was perfect from the line in the second half and finished the game shooting 90 percent (18-20) from the charity stripe.

Junior guard Daniel Mullings led the Aggies finishing with a team-high 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting and also added six rebounds.  Senior forward Renaldo Dixon was right behind with a career-high 15 points.  Sophomore center Sim Bhullar was the only NM State player to finish with double-digit rebounds, marking 10.

Mullings March to 1,000 – The Countdown Continues

Junior guard and Canadian native, Daniel Mullings led the NM State men’s basketball team with 483 points during the 2012-13 season. During the 2011-12 season he tallied a total of 334 points. Prior to the start of this season Mullings needed 183 points to reach 1,000 points for NM State. 

Mullings has scored 161 points this season and now has 994 points on his career, needing six more points to reach the 1,000-point mark. He is currently averaging 17.7 points per game this season, which means he could reach 1,000 points against Gonzaga.

Eric Channing is NM State’s all-time scoring leader with 1,862 points. Channing played for the Aggies from 1998-02. Former Aggie guard Hernst Laroche is No. 15 on all-time points scored. He was under coach Menzies from 2008-12 and scored a total of 400 points his first two years at NM State.

George Knighton was the first Aggie to ever reach 1,000 points. He played for NM State from 1960-62 and scored over 1,000 points his first two years. The most recent Aggies to enter the 1,000 Point Club were Wendell McKines, Hernst Laroche, and Hamidu Rahman in 2012.  Former Aggie Billy Keys is currently No. 31 on the 1,000-point list with 1,004 points in 65 games played (two seasons; 1999-00).

Bhullar with another Block

Sophomore center Sim Bhullar broke the school record for blocks in a single game when he tallied 10 blocked shots in a 91-60 win over Prairie View A&M, Nov. 27 in the Pan American Center.  That day the Aggies tallied 14 blocks, which is also a new school record at NM State.  Former Aggie All-American James Moore is the former record holder for blocks in a game as he tallied eight blocks against North Texas on Feb. 7, 2004.  The previous school record for blocked shots by an Aggie team was 12.  NM State marked 12 blocks against Creighton, Jan. 12, 1978, and against UTSA, Feb. 2, 2013.

Bhullar currently has 118 blocks on his career and moved into the No. 4 spot on the all-time blocked shots list at NM State after marking three blocks against in-state rival UNM, Dec. 4.  He passed former Aggie Charles Gosa, who marked 116 blocks from 1995-99, with his second block of the night on Wednesday.

Bhullar broke the single-season records for blocked shots last year with 85. Former Aggie Roland is in the No. 2 spot for blocked shots in a season with 58 during the 1973-74 season.

Blocked Shots (career)

1. James Moore (2000-03), 200

2. Hamidu Rahman (2008-12), 137

3. Slab Jones (1976-80), 124

4. Sim Bhullar (2012-Present), 118

5. Charles Gosa (1995-99), 116

Career-night for Barry

Junior forward Remi Barry tallied a career-high 18 points in a 95-88 win over host team Hawai’i, during the final game of the Outrigger Hotels and Resort Rainbow Classic, Tuesday, Nov. 12.  He went 6-of-7 from the field, while hitting 4-of-5 free throws and pulling down six rebounds.

Barry went down with a knee injury in the game against Colorado State, Nov. 30 in Fort Collins, Colo.  He is out indefinitely pending surgery.  A follow-up on Barry will be given at a later date.

Eldridge for Three!

Junior guard DK Eldridge, a transfer from New Mexico Junior College, is currently hitting a team-high 52 percent (23-of-32) of his three-point attempts.  Although he has hit only five three’s in the Pan American Center, he is hitting 45 percent of triples in Aggie victories.

Eldridge caught fire last week missing only one three-pointer (9-of-10) in three games.  He tallied a career-high 23 points in a heart-breaking loss to Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. on Nov. 30. That day he went 6-for-6 from behind the arc and joined three other Aggie sharp shooters in the NM State record books for highest 3-point field goal percentage in a game, with a minimum of five 3-pointers made.  Former NM State guard Jimmy Taylor was the first to accomplish the feat going 6-of-6 against San Jose State on Feb. 2, 1989.  Former Aggie Louis Denmark went 6-for-6 against Cal Poly, Jan. 9, 1997, while former great Jahmar Young went hit all six of his 3-point shots against Texas Southern, Dec. 23, 2009.

Slam Dunk

NM State has dunked the ball 41 times compared to its opponents only dunking it on the Aggies 14 times this year.  Sim Bhullar leads the way with 20 dunks after slamming it down on Hawai’i six times.  Daniel Mullings has had some of the most entertaining dunks, with one put-back dunk against Northern Colorado making ESPN Sportcenter’s Top 10 Plays, at No. 6, on Nov. 21.

Aronis Nominated for Community Involvement

New Mexico State senior guard Kevin Aronis was recently nominated for the 2014 Allstate NABC Good Works Team®.

For the second year, Allstate and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) are recognizing a select group of men’s college basketball student-athletes who stand out for their charitable achievements and community involvement. The players nominated for this prestigious honor are committed to enriching the lives of others while contributing to the greater good of their communities.

Video coordinator Josh Daeche assists the student-athletes in getting involved in community service and getting these events lined-up.  He has commented on the emphasis head coach Marvin Menzies had made in becoming involved.

Aronis has plenty of community service accomplishments, which include:

• Volunteering at Caldito Soup Kitchen where he prepares food and serves to the homeless.

• Participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters’ volleyball tournament, Relay for Life and the Child Abuse Prevention 5K.

• Aronis also regularly visits Las Cruces Public Schools about being active and the importance of reading.

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